Westward Kingdoms Game Review
The hit Westward time management adventure game series is back with a fantasy twist in Westward Kingdoms! Exiled by their father the king for being spoiled brats, Prince Fenwick and Princess Catherine need to prove their worth by helping the neighboring kingdoms fend off evil monsters and build up prosperous towns and forts. Help the Prince and Princess grow into the roles they were born to fill by using your time and resource management skills!
Westward Kingdoms is the latest game by the makers of Westward, the hit old-west-themed time management adventure game series. The game concept and mechanics in Kingdoms is similar to that of the original series, but with a fantasy theme. You help kings defend their land from barbarians instead of protecting cowboy settlers from bandits and raiders. And instead of building saloons and railway stations, this time you will need to build watch towers and barracks.
You choose whether you want to play as Prince Fenwick or Princess Catherine. At the start of the game, while you are busy acting pompous and enjoying the life of idle gentry, you receive a note from your father the king. He apparently thinks you are too useless to be the heir to the throne, and he has exiled you from the kingdom until you learn how to be a good leader. Unable to show off your awesome management skills to the local peasants, you set off for foreign lands in search of kings and noblemen who need your help.
If you have played any of the Westward games before, you will feel right at home with the controls and mechanics of the game. And due to its setting in a fantasy world, it bears more than a passing resemblance to one of the giants in the real time strategy game genre: Warcraft. You have a similar setting and resource management system, and you even have the funny retorts and exclamations from your peons whenever you click on them, something that any Warcraft player will fondly remember.
However, Westward Kingdoms isn’t the intense action-packed game that Warcraft is famous for. Things happen at a slower pace here, and you can take your time to plan your next actions or just enjoy the scenery. In addition, the focus here isn’t to create the most efficient resource- and troop-producing town. Rather, the game plays out a bit more like an adventure game, where your main character accepts quests to either chase out bad guys from the kingdom or construct buildings to improve the local defense and economy. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with this type of game though; the quests act as tutorials to slowly introduce all the game mechanics to you.
Most of the game revolves around constructing buildings, collecting resources, fighting off bad guys and searching for treasure. Because you are royalty, a lot of these tasks are beneath you. You therefore need to find peasants and soldiers to do the work for you! Peasants are needed to do the menial work such as collect building resources as well as gold and food. Soldiers are needed to protect the land from bad guys, which range from a single bored barbarian at the start of the game to dragons and other monsters as you become more experienced.
These peasants and soldiers don’t work for free though (what happened to forced labor?) You will need to feed and house them. If there aren’t enough homes for the peasants, they will just stand around doing nothing. If there aren’t enough barracks, you won’t be able to hire more soldiers, and your existing soldiers will only fight at half strength. There are plenty of other buildings – such as the blacksmith, library and goldmine – to turn your kingdom into a military and economic powerhouse. These can be researched and built once the time is right and you have obtained the required resources.
This new Westward game is a departure from the gritty art style in the previous games. The bright and cartoony fantasy style is refreshing though, and works very well. The things the characters say are hilarious as well. You will be spending half the time sniggering at the jokes and groaning at the puns. And since this is a fantasy game, there is also a bit of magic thrown in. Got a damsel stuck on top a tower with the entrance blocked? Just buy a magic bean from the merchant and grow a beanstalk to reach her! There is just one bad thing about the game though. Moving a character requires you to click on the character, then hold and drag your cursor to where you want them to go. This is fine for short distances, but becomes cumbersome when you are trying to move them far off-screen.
That one gripe aside, Westward Kingdoms is a fun and enchanting adventure where you embark on the age-old quest of saving your fellow humans from harm and proving your worth. If you liked the previous Westward games or similar time and resource management games like Roads of Rome II, you will love Westward Kingdoms.